Uber Is Winning the War on Taxis

Ride-sharing service launches offensive in NYC

Jul 8, 2014
Outside Magazine
Uber ride-sharing New York City London taxis

Uber Wages War on Taxis    Nick Nishizaka/flickr

Back on June 4, we reported that Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the famed red knit-cap-wearing oceanophile Jacques Cousteau, was going to spend 31 days underwater with his crew off the Florida Keys. Yesterday, Fabien resurfaced after spending all of June in Aquarius, the world's only underwater laboratory, which is operated by Florida International University.
“It was amazing how much it felt like home,” Cousteau told the media, five hours after seeing daylight for the first time in over a month. “I can imagine for someone who doesn’t like tight spaces it could be much more difficult.”
The project, dubbed Mission 31, was undertaken to collect research of the ocean environment, while raising awareness for marine conservation. With the successful completion of his endeavor, Cousteau the younger (and two tenacious scientists who also stuck it out) now holds the record for the time continuously spent submerged in the big blue. Fabien bested his grandfather's record by one day, although it is unlikely that he will ever match Jacques verbal acuity.
"A lot of men attack the sea," he once said. "I make love to it."

Almost since its inception in 2009, the ride-sharing app Uber has been at war with licensed taxi companies in cities all over the world. The latter have remonstrated that Uber dodges regulatory hurdles to undercut the competition, sparking protests like the intentional gridlock London cabbies staged in June. 

Undeterred, Uber has upped the ante in New York City. In a blog post on its website Monday, the company announced that uberX, its low-cost service (read: your ride is more likely to be a 15-year-old Subaru than a sleek black sedan), is now more affordable than taking a cab. The company has cut its rates by 20 percent, so a ride from Grand Central to the Financial District will now cost you $22, $2 less than the average taxi fare.

Uber has made it clear that the reduced prices are a temporary change meant to win over more customers. If it proves successful, however, the cheaper rates could remain in place.

As its website states, "These prices are only in effect for a limited time. The more you ride, the more likely we can keep them this low!"

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